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Delta 767
Republicans were willing to partially shut down the FAA in a drive to deprive workers of union rights. That's something they'd probably do on a purely ideological basis, but yesterday on the Senate floor, Jay Rockefeller pointed out it's also something they'd done at the urging of one specific company:
I wish I understood why the policy objections of one company—Delta Air Lines—mattered more than the livelihoods of thousands of people.  Last year, the CEO of Delta made $9 million.  Delta paid its top executives almost $20 million.  Yet, it is fighting to make sure its employees cannot organize for fear that they may secure a few extra dollars in their paychecks.  At the same time it is pushing for special interest provisions in the FAA bill, Delta announced it was abandoning air service to 26 small rural communities—leaving many of them without air service.

Delta then had the gall to announce publicly it would seek EAS subsidies to continue this service.  Maybe Mr. Anderson and his colleagues could forgo some of their salary to help subsidize this air service.  Maybe they could use some of the millions of dollars they are collecting in a tax holiday windfall to pay for this service.  Their actions are shameful.

Let me be clear, House Republicans and their Senate allies have thrown nearly four thousand FAA employees out of work, stopped critical airport safety projects, hurt hundreds of small businesses, and gutted the Aviation Trust Fund, all so that Delta Air Lines doesn’t have to allow its employees to organize in a fair and timely manner.

Delta, of course, was so invested in inserting the antidemocratic language making union elections all but impossible into the FAA reauthorization bill that it was willing to fly employees to Washington to lobby for the provision rather than selling those seats to customers. And when it comes to union organizing drives among its employees, Delta has been so aggressively anti-union that the National Mediation Board was investigating Delta's interference and intimidation in a union election for flight attendants, ramp workers and others. And Delta has spent more than $500,000 already this year on lobbying; Delta's CEO is also the chair of the Air Transport Association, which has spent nearly $1 million lobbying in 2011.

Whether they did it for pure ideological reasons or for one company's benefit, Republicans have put nearly 4,000 FAA employees on furlough, shut down construction projects employing up to 90,000 private sector construction workers, and cost the government nearly $30 million a day in ticket taxes in order to push for an election standard for unions by which, if it was applied to government elections, none of them would ever have made it to Congress.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Thu Jul 28, 2011 at 06:52 AM PDT.

Also republished by Progressive Hippie.

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Comment Preferences

  •  All essential personnel should (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    have been furloughed as well this past Monday. Failure to do so lets this whole extortion scheme go largely unnoticed.

    Obama fails to play hardball, again.

    •  (shudder) (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      All essential personnel should have been furloughed as well this past Monday.
      While, in principle, I would agree with this notion, if you check my username you will infer that I have experience in this arena, and which spanned parts of four decades. Air traffic control literally defines the phrase "essential personnel".

      People who are not familiar with the environment figure that all we have to do is close the towers and the airplanes will still be able to get in and out by themselves, just as small airplanes do in thousands of small airports all over the world.

      But it's not the folks in the tower who are the true definition of essential. People unfamiliar with aviation only know those personnel and their job and thus wrongly project the idea that there aren't that many of them, and we can do without for a bit. I am here to tell you that is utter folly.

      Even just considering the lower tier of major airports, there are far more high performance aircraft arriving or departing them than can possibly be supported by "non-tower airports" procedures.

      The approach controls (some collocated at the airports they serve—some in standalone facilities and serving more than one major airport) are essential in getting the large, high performance aircraft from the lower cruise environment into the airport environment. While theoretically it might be possible for them to make that transition in relative (a hugely operative word) safety, it's the cruise portion of the flight that's unworkable without controllers.

      That cruise environment is the bailiwick of the enroute centers (ARTCCs or air route traffic control centers), of which there are twenty serving the U.S. They control traffic from down to the ground (in some areas) all the way to as high as airplanes can fly. The theory of "see and avoid" as a method of keeping such high performance airplanes as dominate their traffic counts was well debunked by the '30s when the airlines practically begged the government to take over "airway traffic control" as it was then called. It had already been found necessary. The last nail in the coffin of proof came twenty years later, even before jets arrived, when a DC-7 and a Super Constellation (both propeller driven aircraft, but flying in the low Flight Levels—around 21,000') collided over the Grand Canyon. Although they had ATC clearances, they were operating under "see-and-avoid" rules available for such flights at the time. Essential became the new minimum for ATC.

      Sure, there are pie-in-the-sky (an apt metaphor, if ever there was one) free marketeers who think TCAS (on-board collision avoidance equipment and in place for about 25 years) and NextGen (The FAA industry's largely hyped, as yet unproven, and years from operational readiness system, which is the camel's nose of elimination of live, expensive controllers) might seemingly obviate the need for controllers, but even if it were possible, it's years down the road, and no solution for now.

      Yeah, I have a vested interest in the subject (although not the outcome, as I've been retired for 13 years), but that means I can speak authoritatively about it, not that my position is biased. No, we could more safely bring every troop home from Afghanistan tomorrow than continue any level of airline service without controllers.

      •  You miss my point. (0+ / 0-)

        I was suggesting  total shutdown to send a message to the Delta, the rest of the airlines and the Republicans.

        No flying. Grounding. Halt.

        No aviation period.

        My aim being to show a mini-default.

        •  Been tried twice… (0+ / 0-)

          3 August, 1981; 11 September 2001.

          In neither case were the results optimal. And by optimal, I mean neither achieved the desired result.

          Frankly, I don't think that would be a mini-default—I think that would be a pretty damn dramatic over-default.

          And please don't misunderstand me—I would love to stick it to those birds, and I object strenuously to the un-American union voting provisions in the bill, but I just don't think we would have a good outcome from it if they shut it all down. Look at Minnesota—it took almost two weeks to resolve, and they were out of beer!

  •  Laura, I love your posts! I feel like (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Alfonso Nevarez, Lujane

    you really are a voice for the workers! I'm so glad I am following you.  Being from Atlanta, I have always been disappointed in how anti-union Delta has been and how truly big corporation it has always been.

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